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History’s 100 Most Influential People: Hero Edition (Video)

April 1st, 2007 by James

Attention visitors: In addition to this post, you may want to check out two similar posts from 2006:

Last night a new Top 100 historical figure list show, “Histories 100 Most Influential people: Hero Edition,” aired on NTV. Here is the full list of results, as selected by a national survey.

  1. Sakamoto Ryoma
  2. Napoleon I
  3. Oda Nobunaga
  4. Saigo Takamori
  5. Miyamoto no Yoshitsune
  6. Jean of Arc
  7. Hideyoshi Toyotomi
  8. Albert Einstein
  9. Yutaka Ozaki
  10. Akechi Mitsuhide
  11. Genghis Khan
  12. Tokugaya Ieyasu
  13. Thomas Edison
  14. Florence Nightengale
  15. Chiune Sugihara
  16. Kyu Sakamoto
  17. Hijikata Toshizo
  18. Rikidozan
  19. Yoshida Shoin
  20. Mahatma Gandhi
  21. Prince Shotoku
  22. George Washington
  23. Sanada Yukimura
  24. Mother Teresa
  25. Yujiro Ishihara
  26. Kakuei Tanaka
  27. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  28. Abraham Lincoln
  29. Oishi Yoshio
  30. Okita Soji
  31. Christopher Columbus
  32. Admiral Togo Heihachiro
  33. Martin Luther King Jr.
  34. Andy Hug
  35. Amakusa Shiro
  36. Hideyo Noguchi
  37. Bruce Lee
  38. Leonardo da Vinci
  39. Abe no Seimei
  40. Walt Disney
  41. Kondo Isami
  42. Date Masamune
  43. Akira Kurosawa
  44. Julius Caesar
  45. Chosuke Ikariya
  46. Audrey Hepburn
  47. Liu Bei
  48. Ryunosuke Akutagawa
  49. John Lennon
  50. Takasugi Shinsaku
  51. Naomi Uemura
  52. Freddy Mercury
  53. Isoroku Yamamoto
  54. Osamu Tezuka
  55. Ninomiya Sontoku
  56. Charlie Chaplin
  57. Diana, Princess of Wales
  58. Ludwig van Beethoven
  59. Ryotaro Shiba
  60. Pablo Picasso
  61. John F Kennedy
  62. Yuri Gagarin
  63. “Giant” Baba
  64. Kong Ming
  65. Anne Frank
  66. Daijiro Kato
  67. Cao Cao
  68. Tokugawa Yoshimune
  69. Arthur Conan Doyle
  70. Elvis Presley
  71. Galileo Galilei
  72. Queen Himiko
  73. Yusaku Matsuda
  74. Pierre and Marie Curie
  75. Ferdinand Magellan
  76. James Dean
  77. Yukio Mishima
  78. Taira no Masakado
  79. Hokusai
  80. Sen no Rikyu
  81. Kiyoshi Atsumi
  82. Federic Chopin
  83. Babe Ruth
  84. Sun Yat-sen
  85. Ayrton Senna
  86. Takanohana Koji
  87. William Shakespeare
  88. Shirasu Jiro
  89. Taira no Kiyomori
  90. Eisaku Sato
  91. The Wright Brothers
  92. Stanely Kubrick
  93. Theodore Roosevelt
  94. Hiraga Gennai
  95. Miyamoto Musashi
  96. Eiji Tsuburaya
  97. Abebe Bikila
  98. Eiji Sawamura
  99. Isaac Newton
  100. Matthew Calbraith Perry

As in their previous historical figure listing shows, NTV had popular celebrities play the role of their favorite historical people who made the list. Here’s foreign “talento” Thane Camus playing Columbus (ranked 31):

Christopher Columbus was obsessed with sailing to Asia and often mentioned the riches of Japan. In this clip, Thane goes a bit further by proclaiming to his sailors that foreigners who come to Japan are popular with the women and can become TV celebrities. As the sailors cheer, text on the screen tells us that all the sailors are foreign “talento” for Japanese TV shows.

Another cool celebrity appearance was Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu as Genghis Khan (ranked 11). Pretty cool moustache, Asa.

Update: A couple more clips from the show
Clip 1: Jean of Arc gets a message from God and later uses her divine knowledge to save a French soldier from a cannonball (fantastic special effects!):

Clip 2: Nobunaga, played by boxer Koki Kameda, demonstrates the effectiveness of longer spears and guns:

Not surprisingly, two of the top 3 results are the same as a similar list from an earlier NTV historical figure ranking show I translated back in May 2006. They also ran a top 100 historical women list show in September, which I also posted the results for. It’s interesting to see how the lists vary in their make-up, and how individuals such as the founders of Japanese Buddhist sects, are missing from the lists, while Jesus made one list. One could argue that NTV “cleaned up” their lists to be more politically correct, something that wouldn’t be too far out of place when other networks are facing accusations of faking/staging television programs.


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Comment by Sonagi
2007-03-31 10:51:11

The Chinese characters in the first image read “hero” not “influential person.” The distinction is significant. “Choosing the top 100 heroes” would explain the list’s composition of mostly Japanese military figures diversified with a couple of famous foreigners. I wonder why so many Japanese consider Hideyoshi a hero. After his initial success in conquering Korea on his way to China, he ended up losing bigtime to a real hero, Admiral Yi Sunshin.

Comment by James
2007-03-31 18:20:53

The full title was “日本人の好きな100の偉人 英雄編” by the way, so I think my translation was ok to call it “Hero Edition,” since the character is used at the end like that, and the 偉人 is like a “great/influential person.”

Comment by James
2007-03-31 22:27:12

Also, I should have the whole list posted by tomorrow, and it’s not mostly Japanese military figures. About 40 of the people on the full list are foreigners, and there are a bunch of Japanese musicians, scholars, etc.

Comment by helical
2007-04-01 01:05:15

Being a “hero” doesn’t automatically require one to be some conquerer or military genius.
Hideyoshi is known inside Japan more for his rise to power from a lowly peasant to the very top through his intelligence and wits, and that would be a good enough reason for him to be considered a hero. (Especially in this day and age when brawn doesn’t count for as much as back then)

Comment by sam
2007-04-12 06:13:42

Regardless of whether the distinction of hero versus infuential person is made, any list that ranks 47 places below freddy mercury is not to be taken seriously.

Comment by her majesty
2007-04-15 04:19:59

freddie could have been #1, you boob

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Sonagi
2007-03-31 10:54:29

Please rescue my comment from the spam trap.

Comment by madne0
2007-03-31 10:55:44

A ridiculous list, but it’s to be expected. Search Wikipedia for the “100 Greatest” lists from various countries. The UK had Princess Diana at nº 3 for example.

Comment by Akoua Doffou
2007-03-31 14:55:25

I agree. Joan of Arc??

Comment by Kaspian
2007-03-31 15:19:40

Interesting list. Somehow I was expecting Nobunaga to get the top spot, though.

Comment by mongolia
2007-03-31 16:01:10

asasheryu good luck

Comment by Luis
2007-04-01 02:10:13

So Thane is back on TV ever since his agency dropped him?

Comment by Alex
2007-04-01 04:11:00

Alright! Sakamoto Ryoma takes first place! WHOO HOOO!!

Comment by RK
2007-04-01 14:55:30

Hideyoshi never conquered Korea. He failed when Admiral Yi repeatedly crushed his navy.

Comment by Luke
2007-04-01 16:57:33

Interesting list. Some Japanese are ignorant. Why do u want to celebrate someone who forced you to open your country?

Comment by James
2007-04-01 17:07:02

I think many focus on the bigger picture of Perry’s arrival in Japan as something that brought about positive changes in Japan and allowed forces within Japan to take down an old system that was no longer needed in the modern times, rather than some American guy bullying them into opening their country.

Comment by the overthinker
2007-04-01 19:48:56

I’ll bet Sakamoto Ryoma wouldn’t have got top billing if he was a squat little ugly toad of a man with warts and one eye rather than the bishounen dream of too many young girls…..

Why is Einstein a “hero”? Or Yutaka Ozaki, whose death seems more famous than his life.

Come to think of it, what is JP’s policy for Japanese names? Looks like ‘historical’ ones are written correctly, but modern ones in the Western style. Why does JP, a Japan-specialist site, feel the need for western-style name-writing?

Comment by James
2007-04-01 19:52:54

Overthinker: I don’t really have a concrete system in place. I think I just went along with Wikipedia’s naming-system, which appears to write all post-modernization Japanese people with their family name last, and all pre-modern folks with the family name first. Since almost all of my updates are about news, I tend to be writing about people living today, so I usually put their family name last.

Comment by madne0
2007-04-02 09:47:04

That Joan of Arc clip is so bad it’s good.

Comment by Sandeep
2007-04-11 05:03:31

Freddy Mercury??

Comment by her majesty
2007-04-15 04:21:26

Japan knows good music

Comment by Marcela Leal Olmedo
2007-04-13 20:57:27

Is a fool trick this poll

Comment by her majesty
2007-04-15 04:23:05

There can be only ONE – Freddie Mercury!!!

Comment by green
2007-04-27 16:35:09

Napolyon listed twice?

Comment by Asalone
2007-05-20 03:13:31

This is a rediculous list. Bruce Lee is on it, but Karl Marx is no where to be found. He had an enourmous impact. I don’t see Adolf Hitler either, or Thomas Edison.

Comment by Kentucky
2007-05-20 03:14:25

You are absolutly right!

Comment by Karasu-kun
2007-07-23 14:05:57

So Perry makes the list but William Adams doesn’t?! Oh Anjin-san, why did they foresake you? Imo, these lists have to be edited or something because I cannot see jesus on any Japanese’s list of top 100 people. (Personally I’d disqualify that as a valid entry anyway, fictional characters have no place on a top 100 list of real people.)

Comment by Karasu-kun
2007-07-23 14:09:13

Also, ew, Columbus, you fraud.

Comment by Sagat-Ken
2007-12-30 13:11:36

Freddie Mercury! The Best!, El Mejor!… Japón es un pais preferido de Queen!

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